THE chairman of the Archibald Knox Society will be giving a lecture on the designer during a lecture tour in the USA.
Chairman of the Archibald Knox Society Liam O’Neill says that the tour – which is titled ‘Archibald Knox in the ministry of the beautiful’ – is a wonderful opportunity to promote Manx culture in the USA.
Existing fans of Knox’s work are known to include Hollywood heart-throb Brad Pitt.
Mr O’Neill’s lecture is the result of 10 years’ research which was conducted in the island, in Scotland and in England.
He said: ‘I’m very excited as this is a fantastic opportunity to market the Isle of Man in the USA that money can’t buy.
‘I am also delighted that I will have an opportunity to meet many American members of our society. I will be emphasising Knox’s unique style and genius as a modern designer in the Celtic tradition and the influences on his artistic imagination, especially what I call the “Manx Factor”.’
Manx artist, architect and designer Archibald Knox was born in the Isle of Man in 1864 and died in the island in 1933.
He attended Douglas Grammar School and Douglas School of Art, where he developed a lifelong interest in ancient Celtic art and Norse crosses.
Their intertwining designs were to provide the inspiration for the many patterns which he later used in his designs for Liberty and Co. His designs made him a household name, as did his watercolours, graphic designs and fonts.
Knox’s design talent covered a wide range of objects, ornamental and utilitarian, and included silver and pewter tea sets, jewellery, inkwells, boxes and gravestones.
The lectures will take place between September 22 and 29. The first stop is in Denver, Colorado, where two lectures will take place. The second stop of the tour will be in Seattle in Washington State, on the west coast.
The tour will continue to the Gamble House in Pasadena, California, a famous arts and crafts style house, while the final stop will be in New York.
Mr O’Neill, said: ‘This tour will put the Isle of Man on the radar screen for the many arts and crafts societies across the USA, who frequently visit Ireland and the UK.
‘It will be a major boost for cultural tourism. In Archibald Knox and Baillie Scott we have two world-class designers in the arts and crafts and art nouveau movements that we have not yet exploited to the full in attracting tourists to the island.’
Mr O’Neill stated that the aim of the lecture tour is to promote the legacy of Archibald Knox nationally and internationally by furthering the artistic and cultural identity of the Isle of Man and ‘attributing to Knox his rightful place in the history of the decorative arts as one of the foremost artists/designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries’.
The sponsors of the tour are Manx Heritage Foundation, Knox Group Plc Douglas, The Royal Oak Foundation, Kirkland Museum Denver, Initiatives in Art and Culture New York, Historic Seattle, Seattle Art Museum and The Gamble House Pasadena.
Mr O’Neill’s lecture in New York is co-sponsored by the Victorian Society of New York.
During his talk Mr O’Neill will talk about Archibald Knox’s life and explain how his genius as a designer lay in his inner imagination and individuality. He will also illustrate the designer’s incredible range of designs and objects that reference a Celtic ornamental tradition yet retain a sense of modernity.